Rags to RichesNew York retailer Carlos Campos had a willowy gender-neutral black T-shirt for sale in early April for $110 that sold out within h...Rags to Riches
New York retailer Carlos Campos had a willowy gender-neutral black T-shirt for sale in early April for $110 that sold out within hours. As the price signals, this wasn’t an ordinary T-shirt.
What made it extraordinary was that it wasn’t made from cotton or polyester or some mixture of the two. It also wasn’t made from recycled polyester derived from plastic bottles, or lyocell, a fabric derived from wood pulp. Instead, the garment was spun from fibers created from the waste of previously existing cotton clothes.
NuCycl r-lyocell—the name for this recycled cotton-derived fabric—was invented in 2019 by the Seattle-based start-up Evrnu using a technology that could be game-changing for the fashion industry. The idea is to take clothes that have been made, worn, and returned; break them down to their most basic components; and then make them again and again in a circular process that drastically cuts waste, water use, pollution, and carbon emissions. Technologies under development will allow the company to break down and remake clothing out of other materials too, including cotton-polyester blends.
“We just cracked the code and got a fiber that is just as strong or stronger than petroleum-based options by using a plant-based backbone, which means nature knows how to break it down,” says Stacy Flynn, CEO and co-founder of the 8-year-old company.